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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  September 6, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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the last time. this sort of experience was not evidence in that federal judiciary. nothing compared to the federal government. this level of expertise makes it very, very good in either of these situations. >> thank you very much. >> let's give or panel a round of applause. [applause] >> you're watching public affairs programming on c-span on labor day. up next president obama talks about jobs, the economy and the november elections. after that tomko burn talking about the health care system. later we'll hear from bernie sanders who has been critical of wall street.
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on tomorrow morning's "washington journal" a discussion on the health system. michael lillis is our guest. george melloan talks about consumer confidence. and anthony placido on the use of u.s. intelligence gathering. later religious leaders from the christian, muslim faith will talk about religious tolerance in the u.s. live coverage begins at 1:00 eastern. .
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>> is good to be in milwaukee. it is good to be here. i am almost home. [cheers and applause]
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i just hop on the '94 and i am home. [cheers and applause] its is good to be here on such a beautiful day. happy labor day, everybody. [cheers and applause] i want to say thank you to the milwaukee area labor council and all of my brothers and sisters in the afl-cio for inviting me to spend this day with you. [cheers and applause] this is a day that belongs to the working men and women of america. i want to acknowledge your president,g national presenc
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and a man who knows that a strong economy needs a strong labor movement. [cheers and applause] thank you to the president of the wisconsin afl-cio, the secretary of the treasure. [cheers and applause] happy birthday, sheila. [cheers and applause] i am proud to be here with our secretary of labor, a daughter of a union member, held the soleus, and our secretary of transportation, rail the hood lahood is in the
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house. senator herbert kohl, congresswoman when more -- congress woman and when and more -- congress woman gwen moore. [applause] your soon-to-be governor is in the house. [cheers and applause] i know your other senator russ feingold was here with you and your families, just like he always has. now he is participating in a labor day parade. it is good to be back. of course, this is not my first time at labor fast -- laborfa
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est. i was here last when i was still a candidate for this office. during that campaign, we talk about how, for years, the values of hard work and responsibility that had built this country had been given short trips. it was slowly hollowing out our middle class. chaireverybody who has a set down because everybody is hollering. just sit down and relax because i am going to be talking for a while. we have a lot of hard-working people here. you deserve to sit down for a day. you have been on your feet
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working hard. two years ago, we talked about some on wall street who had been taking risks, taking huge profits, while working americans were working harder and harder to stay afloat. we said how the deaths were too often stacked against working americans. what we knew even then was that these years would be some of the most difficult in our history. two weeks after i spoke here, the bottom fell out of the economy. middle-class families suddenly found themselves swept up in the worst recession of our lifetime. so the problems facing working families, they are nothing new. but they are worse than ever.
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that makes our call for urgency greater than ever. the great american middle class that made our economy the envy of the world, it has to be that way again. [applause] milwaukee, it was folks like you that built this city. it was folks like you that built the state. it was folks like you that forged the middle-class all across the nation. it was working men and women who made the 20th-century the american century. it was the labor movement that
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helped secure some much of what we take for granted today. the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, family leave, health-insurance, social security, medicare, retirement plans, the cornerstone of the middle-class security all bear the union label. [applause] it was the greatest generation that built america and to the greatest force of prosperity, opportunity and freedom the world has ever known. americans like my grandfather who went off to war just boys and returned home as men. then they traded in one uniform and set of responsibilities for another. americans like my grandmother who rolled up her sleeves and worked in a factory on the home front. when the war was over, they studied under the gi bill and they bought a home under the fha and they raised families supported by good jobs that pay good wages with good benefits.
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it was through my grandparents' experience that i was brought up to believe that anything is possible in america. [applause] but, milwaukee, they also knew the feeling when opportunity is pulled out from under you. they grew up during the depression, so they tell me about seeing their fathers or their uncles losing jobs, how it was not just the loss of a paycheck that hurts so bad. it was the blow to their dignity. their sense of self-worth. a lot of us have seen people have been changed after a long bout of unemployment. it can wear you down, even if you have a strong spirit. if you are of work for a long time, it can wear you down. my grandparents taught me early on that a job is about more
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than just a paycheck. the paycheck is important, but a job is about waking up every day with a sense of purpose and going to bed at night feeling like you have handled your responsibilities. [applause] it is about meeting or responsibilities to yourself, your family and your community. i carry that lesson with me all those years ago when i got my start fighting for men and women on the south side of chicago after their local steel plant shut down. i carry that lesson with me through my time as a state senator and u.s. senator and i carry that lesson with me today. [applause] i know, i know that there are folks here in this audience folks right here in milwaukee
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and all across america who are going through these kinds of struggles. 8 million americans lost their jobs in this recession. even though we have had eight straight months of private sector job growth, the new jobs have not been coming fast enough. here is the honest truth, the plain truth. there is no silver bullet, there is no quick fix to these problems. i knew when i was running for office, and i certainly knew by the time i was sworn in, i knew it would take time to reverse the damage of a decade worth of policies that sought to few people being able to climb into the middle-class, too many people falling behind. [applause]
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we all knew this. we knew it would take more time than any of us want to dig ourselves out of this whole created by this economic crisis. on this labor day, there are two things i want you to know -- number one, i am going to keep fighting every single day, every single hour, every single minute to turn this economy around and put people back to work and renew the american dream, not just for your family, not just for all our families, but for future generations. that, i can guarantee you. [applause] number two, i believe this with every fiber of my being, america cannot have a strong, growing economy without a
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strong, growing middle-class. and the chance for everybody, no matter how humble their beginnings, to join that middle-class. [applause] a middle class built on the idea that if you work hard, and you tend to responsibilities, you can get ahead, that you enjoy some basic guarantees in life. a good job that pays a good wage. health care that will be there when you get sick. [applause] a secure retirement even if you are not rich. an education that will give your children a better life than we had. these are simple ideas. these are american ideas. these are union ideas. that is what we are fighting for. [applause]
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i was thinking about this last week -- on the day i announced the end of our combat mission in iraq -- [applause] i spent some time, as i often do with our soldiers and our veterans. this new generation of troops coming home from iraq, they have earned their place alongside the greatest generation, just like that greatest generation, they got the skills, they've got the training, they've got the drive to move america pause economy forward once more. we have been investing in new care, new opportunities, and a new commitment to our veterans because we have to serve them
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just the way they served us. [applause] but, milwaukee, they're coming home to an economy hit by recession deeper than anything we have seen since the 1930's. the question is how do we create the same kinds of middle- class opportunities for this generation as my grandparents' generation came home to? how do we build our economy on that same strong and stable foundation for growth? anybody who thinks we can move this economy forward with just a few folks at top doing well hoping that it's going to trickle down to working people who are running faster and faster just to keep up, you will never see it. [applause]
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if that is what you are waiting for, you should stop waiting because it has never happened in our history. that is not how america was built. it was not built with a bunch of folks at top doing well and everybody else scrambling. we did not become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. we did not come this far by letting the special interests run wild. we did not do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on wall street. we built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell. we did it with sweat and effort and innovation. we did it on the assembly line. and at the construction site. we did it by investing in the people who built this country from the ground up, the workers, middle class families, small business owners. we are workloads and educated
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folks and we out competed everybody else. that is how we build america. [applause] and, milwaukee, that is what we are going to do again. that has been at the heart of we have been doing these 20 months -- building our economy on a new foundation so that our middle-class doesn't just survive this crisis, i want it to thrive and wanted to be stronger than was before. over the last two years, that has meant taking on some powerful interests. some powerful interests to have been dominating the agenda in washington for a long time and they are not always happy with me. they talk about me like a dog. [applause] that's not my prepared remarks, but it's true. [applause]
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that is why we passed financial reform, to provide new accountability and tough oversight of wall street. stopping credit card companies from gouging you with hidden fees and unfair rate hikes. ending taxpayer bailout of wall street once and for all. they are not happy with it, but its the right thing to do. [applause] that is why we eliminated tens of billions of dollars in wasteful taxpayer subsidies, handouts, to the big banks providing student loans. we took that money, tens of billions of dollars, and we're going to make sure that your kids and grandkids can get student loans and grants at a cheap rate and afford a college education.
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they're not happy with it, but it's the right thing to do. [applause] we are using those savings to put a college education within reach for working families. that is why we passed health insurance reform, to make coverage affordable. [applause] reform that ends the indignity of insurance companies jacking up your premiums at will, denying you coverage just because you get sick, or form that gives you control, gives you the ability if your child is sick to be able to get an affordable insurance plan, making sure they cannot drop it. that is why we are making it easier for workers to save for retirement with new ways of saving your tax refund. a simpler system for enrolling in plants like 401k's and fighting to strengthen social security in the future. if anyone is still talking
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about privatizing social security, they need to be clear it will not happen on my watch, not while i'm president of the united states. [applause] that is why we have given tax cuts. we gave them to folks in need them. we have given them to small business owners. we have given them to clean energy companies. we have cut taxes for 95% of working americans, just like a promise you during the campaign. you all got a tax cut. [applause] instead of giving tax breaks to
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companies that are shipping jobs overseas, we are cutting taxes for companies putting our people to work right here in the united states of america. [applause] we want to invest in growth energies likely energy and manufacturing. you have got leaders here in wisconsin who have been fighting to bring those jobs to milwaukee, fighting to bring those jobs to wisconsin. i don't want to see solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars made in china. i want them made right here in the united states of america. [applause] i don't want to buy stuff from someplace else. i want to grow our exports so that we are selling to
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someplace else, products that say made in the usa. [applause] [chanting "usa."] there are no better workers and american workers. i will put my money on you any day of the week. when the naysayers say you could not save the auto industry, let hundreds of thousands of jobs vanish, we said we're going to stand by this workers. if the management is willing to make tough choices, if everybody is willing to come together, i am confident the american auto industry can compete once again. today, that industry is on the way back.
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they said no, we said yes to the american workers. they are coming back. [applause] let me tell you, another thing we have done is to make long overdue investments in upgrading our outdated, our inefficient national infrastructure. we're talking roads, dams and levees. at we're also talking about smart electric grid that timbering clean energy to new areas. we're talking about broadband internet. we're talking about high-speed rail lines, required to compete in a 21st century economy. i want to get from milwaukee down to chicago quick. [applause] i'm bored of traffic jams.
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we're talking investments in tomorrow creating hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs right now. because of these investments and the tens of thousands of projects they have spurred all across the country, the battered construction sector actually grew last month for the first time in a very long time. [applause] but the folks here in the trades know what i'm talking about. nearly one in five construction workers are unemployed. one in five. nobody has been hit harder than construction workers. all lot of those folks lost their jobs in manufacturing and went into construction and now they have lost their jobs again. it doesn't do anybody any good when so many hard-working americans have been idle for
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months, even years at a time when there is so much of america that needs rebuilding. that is why, milwaukee, today, i am announcing a new plan for rebuilding and modernizing america's roads and rails and runways for the long term. i want america to have the best infrastructure in the world. we used to have the best infrastructure in the world. we can have it again. we're going to make it happen. [applause] over the next six years, we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads. that's enough to circle the world six times. that's a lot of road. we're going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways, enough to stretch coast-to- coast. we're going to restore 150 miles of runways and we're going
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to advance the next generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for american travelers. i think everybody can agree on that. anybody want more delays at airports? i didn't think so. that's not a republican or democratic idea, we all want to get to where we need to go. i have air force one now, it's nice. but i still remember what it was like. [laughter] this is a plan that will be fully paid for. it will not add to deficit over time. we're going to work with congress to see to that. we want to set up an infrastructure bank to leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments. we are going to continue our strategy to build a national
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high-speed rail network that reduces congestion, traffic time and harmful emissions. we want to cut waste and bureaucracy, consolidate and collapse more than 100 different programs that too often duplicate each other. we want to change the way washington spends your tax dollars. we want to reform and haphazard, patchwork way of doing business. we want to focus on less wasteful approaches and we've got right now. we want competition and innovation that gives us the best bang for the buck. but the bottom line is this, milwaukee -- this will not only create jobs immediately, it is also going to make our economy hum over the long haul. it should and could attract bipartisan support. even in the worst recession in our lifetimes, american and shape its own investment, we can still move this country
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forward, we can still leave our children something better. [applause] so these are the things we have been working for. these are some of the victories you guys have helped us achieve. and we're not finished. we have a lot more progress to make. and i am confident we will. but, there are some folks in washington who see things differently. [booing] you know what i am talking about. [laughter] when it comes to building our middle-class and strengthening our economy, almost every republican in congress says no. even on things we usually agree on, they say no. if i say the sky was blue, they
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say no. if i said fish live in the sea, they would say no. [laughter] they just think it's better to score political points before an election than to solve problems. so they said no to help for small businesses, even when the small businesses said we desperately need it. that used to be their key constituency, they said no. they said no to bequest tax cuts. i say let's give tax cuts to the middle-class and they say no. no to clean energy jobs. no to making colleges more affordable. no to reform in wall street. they're saying no to helping small business owners and getting them financing. somebody out here was yelling
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"yes we can" remember that slogan? their slogan is "no, we can't." [laughter] [applause] no, no, no, no. [chanting "yes, we can."] i personally think yes, we can is more inspiring than know, we can't. to steal a line from my old friend, ted kennedy, what is it about working men and women may find so offensive? when we passed a bill earlier this summer to help states save jobs, the jobs of hundreds of
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thousands of teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters that were about to be laid off, they said no. [applause] the republican who thinks he's going to take over as speaker -- [laughter] [booing] that's his opinion. he's entitled to his opinion. when asked about this, he dismissed those jobs as a government jobs that weren't worth saving. that is what he said. government jobs. think about this. these are the people who teach our children. these are the people who keep our streets safe. these are the people who put their lives on the line, who rushed in to a burning building.
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government jobs? i don't know about you, but i think those jobs are worth saving. [applause] i think those jobs are worth saving. [applause] by the way, this bill that we passed to save all those jobs, we made sure that bill would not add to the deficit. do you know how we paid for it? by closing one of these ridiculous tax loopholes that actually rewarded corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas. [applause] this was one of those loopholes that allow companies to write off taxes they paid to foreign governments even though they
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were not paying taxes here in the united states. so middle-class families were footing tax breaks for companies creating jobs somewhere else. even a lot of america's biggest corporations agreed this loophole did not make sense and agreed it needed to be closed, agreed it was unfair. but the man who thinks he is going to be speaker, he wants to reopen this loophole. [booing] the bottom line is this -- these guys don't want to give up on the economic philosophy they have been peddling for most of the last decade. you know that philosophy. you cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, you cut all the rules and regulations for special interests, and then you
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cut working folks' lives. you cut them loose to fend for themselves. you remember, they called it the ownership society. but when it boiled down to is if you couldn't afford job, you couldn't afford college, you were born poor, your insurance company dropped to even know your kid was sick, that you were on your own. that philosophy did not work out so well for middle-class families all across america. it did not work out well for our country. all it did was racked up record deficits and results in the worst economic crisis since the great depression. think about it, we have tried what they're peddling. we did it for 10 years. we ended up with the worst economy since the 1930's and record deficits to boot. it's not like we haven't tried what they're trying to sell less.
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i'm bringing this up not because i'm trying to relitigate the past, i'm bringing it up because i don't want to relive the past. [applause] it would be one thing, milwaukee, if republicans in washington had some new ideas. if they had said we really screwed up and we learned from our mistakes. we're going to do things differently this time. that is not what they're doing. when the leader of their campaign committee was asked on national television what republicans would do if they took over congress, do you know what he said? he said we would do exactly the same thing we did the last time. that is what he said. it's on tape. so basically, here is what this election comes down to -- they are betting that between now and november, you are going to come down with amnesia.
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[laughter] they figure you are going to forget what their agenda did to this country. they think you will believe they have changed. these are the folks his policies helped devastate our middle-class and drove our economy into a ditch. we got in there and put on our boots and pushed and shoved and we were sweating. these guys were standing, watching us, sipping on a, pointing at us saying how come you're not pushing harder? how come you're not pushing faster? when we finally got the car up and it's got a few dings and a few dents, it's got some but on that, we're going to have to do some work on it, they point that everybody and say it would get with these guys did to your car. actually, we got out of the ditch. then they have the nerve to ask
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for the keys back. i don't want to give them the keys back. they don't know how to drive. [applause] i want everybody to think about it here. when you want to go forward in your car, what do you do? you put it in "d." they are going to pop it in reverse and they have those special interests riding shotgun and then they hit the gas and we will be right back in the ditch. [laughter] milwaukee, we are not going backwards. that is the choice we face this fall. do we want to go back or do we want to go forward? i say we want to move forward. america always moves forward.
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we keep moving forward every day. [applause] let me say this, milwaukee. i know these are difficult times. i know folks are worried. i know there is still a lot of hurt out there. i hear it when i travel around the country. i see it in the letters i read every night from folks who are looking for a job, who lost their homes. it breaks my heart. those are folks i got into politics for. you are the reason i'm here. [applause]
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when times are tough, i know it can be easy to get into cynicism. i know it can be easy to get into fear and doubt. it's easy for folks to stir up stuff and turn people on each other. it's easy to settle for something less and set our sights a little bit lower. but i want everybody here to remember that that's not who we are. that is not the country i know. we do not give up. we do not quit. we face down war, we face down depression, we face down great challenges. we have lit the way for the rest of the world. whenever times have seemed at their worst, americans have been at their best. that is when we roll up our sleeves and remember we rise or
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fall together as one nation and one people. that is the spirit that started the labor movement, the idea that alone we may be weak, divided we may fall, but we are united, we are strong. that is why we call them unions and that is why we call this the united states of america. i'm going to make this case across the country between now and november. i am asking for your help and if you are willing to join me, we can strengthen our middle-class and make this economy work for all americans again and restore the american dream and give it to our children and grandchildren. god bless you and god bless the united states of america. [applause]
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♪ ♪ ♪
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>> tomorrow, and look at u.s. policy toward iraq. we will hear from joe biden and the senior advisor on national security. we will look at what it means for india's neighbors appeared it starts at 3:30 p.m. eastern follow the people and events that make history online at the c-span video library. the transfer of the canal, the impeachment of a president, the events of 9/11 -- watch what happened as it happened. watch any time. it is washington your way. >> next, tom coburn talks to constituents at a town hall meeting. topics include health care, immigration, and government spending.
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senator cockburn is finishing up his first term and is up for burn ision -- senator cockbur finishing up his first term and is up for reelection. >> the whole purpose for having this meeting is for you to hold me accountable. we will spend as much time as we can answering questions. the one thing i love about town hall meetings is that i get an earful. i will tell you had a time that i am pretty good about reading the e-mails that i get. if you get a letter back from me, and almost everybody does, all as we have lost it, you can count i have read the letter that you send me or the e-mail that you send me. you can also count that it is my words coming back to you, not somebody else's. i am about 5000 behind right now. i spend about two and a half
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hours a day on it. i spend about an hour and a half in the car on the way here today answering your letters. if you have not gone unanswered and it has been three months or four months, it is my fault. we average about 2000 letters to 3000 letters a month. it takes a while. but it really is important to me to hear from you. that is how i learn what oklahomans think. i'm going to spend a few minutes talking and see where we are. i think we have some real problems in front of us. let me differentiate between the problem and the symptoms of the problem. part of our problem is that we do not talk about the real problems. we talk about the symptoms. the first problem is that we have ignored the u.s. constitution. if you go and look at the enumerated powers, we have
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expanded it far beyond what it was ever intended to be by our founders. we have done it by doing good things. but, as we spend $1.4 billion a day that we do not have and charge it to our kids, it is really time to reconsider that. we also have $13.35 trillion that will have to be repaid. what that does is that steals opportunity and future from our children and grandchildren. that is not our heritage. we ought to reject that. we ought to be about making the hard choices about what is a priority and what is not a priority. i have not won very many amendments, but i have offered a lot more than anybody else up there. the third thing that we have
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that is a problem is that we lack visionary leadership. we are kind of in the doldrums right now, economically and in other ways. that is because we have not had it voiced and vocalized that we need to get back to embracing the very characteristics that made this country the greatest country in the world. it provided a greater standard of living than any of the country as ever provided, greater freedom, and greater advancement. it did it not because of us. it did because it is a system in which we have a limited government and individual will and individual freedom and up trumping the best thing a bureaucracy can never do. the hope is that we will recognize these and we will move. we did not have one problem in front of us as a nation that is
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not solvable. but if you talk about the symptoms and not the problem, we delay the time we have to get to work on them. if you come to me and you have a fever and cough and chest pains, i can take care of your cough. viking give you a narcotic. i can take care of your fever. i can also do something to help the chest pain. but if i do not address the fact that you have pneumonia and treat the real disease, you're going to feel better at first and then you will get worse. you cannot talk about something -- you are a bad person if you -- you're not a bad person to talk about the things we have to talk about today. we need to talk about the real problems and make real choices that says what is number one, what is number two, and no. 3, knowing that we can and do everything that we want to do --
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nor should we -- at the federal level. i want you to voice a question. i am going to repeal it so everybody can hear. yes, sir. >> i have three things. [unintelligible] my name is norman bryant. larry roberts is in the hospital. >> i knew that. >> that is enough of that. i have two questions. illegal ligaments, i am so sick and tired of hearing all this stuff about illegal immigrants and the fact that nobody is doing anything about it. obama supposedly send some troops down to the border.
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but it is like a band-aid on a situation that is really serious. legal immigrants, i do not have a problem. all of these drug lords and criminals coming into our country illegally and the government is not doing anything about it. obama is not doing anything about it. why, in heaven's name, do we not stop that? >> let's start with that. first of all, in 2006, we created a change on the border that took $8 billion of your money. we implemented a significant change on the border with a market increase -- with a marked increase in fencing works. that was not completed for some reason. but the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country is about a third of what
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it was during that time. there is still way too many. no republic can survive that cannot control its borders. we will not survive. if somebody tells you we cannot do it, they are either ignorant, deceitful, or have no knowledge of history. the fact is that we can. there are a lot of problems associated with did, getting a consensus to do just that. he may be interested to know that about 40% of the people who are here illegally came legally. they came under a visa that our government granted to them to allow them to come to this country. the congress has been incompetent in creating a system and in forcing the administration to enforce a system that manages entry and exit the says -- entry and exit visas. it has not been a priority for this administration and it needs to be fixed.
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why had v aisa system -- why have a visa system if you're not going to enforce it? you have the department of interior that will not allow the border patrol to come on to their land because they are afraid that they will tear it up. but the very same place where they may carry it up is where the vast majority of illegals are coming across the land and tearing it up. that is a bureaucratic rule, to never do what is best if it is not say for the bureaucracy. we have an uncontrolled bureaucracy. it is not a simple problem. you are right. there is a moved to fix that. we could i get it fixed completely when president bush was there. i believe we ought to steal our border and we ought to control it and anybody who says week -- we ought to seal our border and
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we ought to control and anybody who says we cannot is ignorant. you do not need to address the 14th amendment. that is one of the symptoms of the problem, not the problem. if you control the border, you do not have a problem with the 14th amendment. if, in fact, you control the borders, children being born here in gaining citizenship would not be an issue. [laughter] -- [applause] who is next? >> why are you using senatorial powers to sequester my records? >> this is a gentleman who dropped off your records to my office. is that my understanding? >> people witnessed you asking me three times if you could take my medical records home. i went to doctors you referred
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me to and i have their correspondence back to you asking for the reports. i also have records from the u.s. marshals filed showing that have faxed you my records. >> you are saying that we have communicated with you in in tonight -- in infinitum. we have searched for your records. we have turned my office inside and out. we cannot find them. there is no answer i can give you that will satisfy you, other than the fact that you are welcome to carry this through. -- no one is a question in your records. your records are lost. >> no, they are sequestered. >> i did not sequester them. >> they were sequestered at your request. >> that is not true. if you want to continue this issue, you can talk to johnny in my office.
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we cannot solve a problem that is not an accurate description of the problem. >> we have your correspondence. i did a print screen of your computer. my records are archived. >> first of all, you are in error. i am not going to spend anymore time on this. we do not have electronic medical records in my office. >> your computer screen shows what records are available. >> no, we do not. you are in error. >> they had some success in trying to get some conservative candidates elected to the senate and they were very laudatory toward yourself has being naturally -- there was a naming of additional persons. they named you and senator demint as true conservatives in the senate and trying to do
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things like tap down earmarking, bring attention to the national debt, talk about things in a market-based conservative fashion. do you see any hope? there was some sketch about he was getting some push back up from the national party. we know the vilification that you have taken from both sides because of the stance you have often taken in the senate. is there any hope that you see of us bringing or putting some true conservatives in the senate to try to bring some help for you and senator demint and pushing for some of these needed reforms that you discuss a? >> i like the words you use because you did not use "republican." labels are cheap and not very accurate. having been in the senate now five and a half years, i have been labeled a lot of thing, most of them inaccurate.
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our country has problems. how do we solve them? we certainly do not use the absence of common sense to get the -- get to the solution of our problems. that is one of the biggest problems that i see in washington. there are a lot of great people. democrats, republicans, liberals, and conservatives are in washington. the critical fact that is missing is that a large number of the people who serve in washington love our country. but they have absolutely no real world practical experience on almost anything because they spent their entire career in "public service." when it comes to making critical decisions, they do not have a machine that broke down or when a quarter 20 bolt is. you wonder how many flat tires
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to have changed in their lives. you do not know the practical experience of living life. they do not have malicious motives. what we need is people with real world expense to apply that expense to the problems that we are facing in our nation, much like our founders did. instead, we have a career class of almost the elites who become arrogant in their position. guilty of that. i am not throwing any thing on somebody that probably does not apply to me. we need to recognize. what was the country built on? it was built on the heritage of sacrifice, that one generation works hard, sacrifices hard to create opportunity for those that follow. that was built on the fact that we had certain constitutional principles that we followed to a
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very great degree until the late '40's. then we started abandoning the true meaning of the constitution by expanding the commerce clause, expanding the general welfare clause, and now, if you say anything, you do not care about people. the fact is that there is not anybody in this room that would not sacrifice to help somebody who was truly in need. but there is a big difference in that and creating a system that is designed to be defrauded. that is truly where we find ourselves. one in 19 people in this country today are on disability. that does not count our veterans. do you really think one in 19 people are disabled? have we designed a system to be abused? yes. in the recent past, 600,000 of them have been given commercial
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driver's licenses. if you know anything about medicine or commercial driver's licenses and disability, if you're truly disabled, that means, by definition under the law, there is not a job in the economy you can perform, yet you can pass a commercial rivals license and meet the present, that adds up. but we have done oversight here, we can identify waste, fraud, abuse, or duplication, and you cannot get the body electric in the senate or the house to go after that fraud, waste, duplication, or incompetence, it is time to send different people there.
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the real answer is you. the real answer is demanding change and holding us accountable. his quest is about the health care bill. the politically correct rationalization for doing this is the insurance companies were making too much money from it. the thing that people do not count on our port oklahomans who
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have medicare advantage cannot afford a supplemental medicare policies are much better taken care -- better taking care of through medicare advantage. if you think the insurance companies are making too much money, did not take away the benefits from medicare patients. but we are going to see is america lose critical coverage under medicare advantage. it is not critical if you are sitting in washington talking about this gentleman. if you want the decisions on your health care made by bureaucrats, we need to embrace what this administration has done on health care. if you say, we passed up a golden opportunity to fix the real problems and health care. it cost too much.
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health care in america costs too much. why does it cost too much? because one out of $3 that we spend today helps nobody in health care. $1 out of $3 it does not prevent anybody from getting sec. what would happen to your health care tomorrow if we got rid of that one out of $3 that is not helping anybody. your cost of health care would go down a third. that would be beneficial. why would we design a system to get rid of excess costs? into a new payment panel, which is created a massive shortcoming for your primary care doctors in this country. why don't we fix the real problem?
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we passed a big opportunity. it is both punishment for the insurance industry and pain for the people the law on medicare advantage. not everyone on medicare advantage is in that situation. for 89,000 oklahomans who are on medicare advantage, they will see a significant reduction in their benefits. what we are doing -- if you like the health care you have, you can keep it. i did not think so for medicare advantage. health care is a big issue. we did not do anything about the fact that to under $50 billion is ordered in tests that nobody needs. -- $250 billion. they are covering themselves
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because they are not paid out of -- we're all taught in medical school the same thing. if you listen to the patient, they will tell you what is wrong with them. by having a great differential diagnosis and spending time with your patients, you can come to a diagnosis without the first test. we will not pay for that because we have a price controlled bureaucracy called medicare and medicaid. have you ever ask yourself the question why the best doctor gets paid the same as the worst? why? i would think we would want to reward excellence and punished incompetence. but medicare sees them all the same. i want the best -- if i have to have heart surgery some day, i want the best, not the worst. we have a system that does not differentiate between the
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quality. why can we have a transparent market? why can you see potential outcomes before you -- we allocate almost everything in this country on the basis of market except health care. we do not let consumers make a value judgment. our other problem is we all assume somebody else is paying for it. that is why the inflation. real wages and oklahoma would be 11% higher if we truly had market forces driving health care. 11% more in real wages. those wages went to help care costs because those costs are out of control. >> i agree with everything you have said.
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are we going to be able to stop this? >> i am not going to learn to live with that. look, this is being filled by c- span. i am going to get and lots of trouble. i believe the plan is for this plan to fail. i know this plan will fail. health insurance is going to be way too high, you are going to create an adverse selection. anybody on that is healthy, you will pay the fine in 2014 rather than spend $8,000 on health insurance. if you get sick, they have to cover your. it does not rise to seven under $95 until 2016. the help young people are not going to be in the insurance pool. what is going to happen to the people over 40 who are sick?
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what will happen to the cost of their insurance? that is why they have designed it to fail. ultimately, they would like for it to revert back. we need a government run, government mandated single payer health care system. this country has the best health care in the world. the irony to-time cancer survivor. colon cancer and melanoma. radical surgery. why am i alive? the health care system in this country works 30% better than anywhere else in the world on cancer. yet we are going to control the system that created that outcome. it is time that we change it. here is the fight. block will happen will depend on what happens in the election. you're not going to get it repealed until you have enough votes to override a veto.
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that is not likely. you either have to change the president in 2012 or you'll be ready for a big fight that says, we are not going to spend $1 to the government agencies that are implementing this. when that happens, there will be a price to pay. the american people have to decide. will everybody get all wobbly need when we play hardball on whether or not we will allow this administration to implement this? that is why they are rushing so fast because they are afraid the election will change things. there are 3400 pages of new regulations on the health care bill. that is about one 20th of what is coming. -- 1/20 of what is coming. what do you think the cost of complying with that is going to be? let alone, the system is not going to work financially. to take billions of dollars at
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of medicare to create entitlements, where we will subsidize everybody else's help insurance and we will create the class act of longtime care, it will not be financially sound. medicare is already broke. it has a $37 trillion unfunded liability. anybody under 40 in this room is never going to see a medicare payment unless we markedly reform health care. it is going to be a hard battle. the press do plight will be, but republicans are shutting down the government over health care. well, do you want this bill or not? if the president is going to veto at any bill that does not have the money to implement. america needs to decide. do we want a socialist cleaning help care system or do we want a market-driven system with more
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responsibility on you than you have today, but will markedly lower the cost for you and your kids and grandkids? if that is the choice. i vote for the american style of intervention, rather than the socialist style. [applause] >> [unintelligible] potential president of the united states. [applause] >> let me stop you there. i want to give you a story. i had been married 42 years. i like the life that i have. if i even thought about that --
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i would have to go through training with another wife. i am not doing that. >> i do not think that what happened. >> you do not know my wife. >> is a mile understanding that there are five states on providing a ballot for our soldiers overseas. but is being done about that? >> his question is about, in the 2008 election, most of our troops boats did not really count. the states did not fulfill their responsibility of getting the balance to them early enough so they could get back here and count. there is a bill, but there is also oversight. right now, based on timing, we will have a tough time holding those states accountable. here is what ought to happen. if the state does not make their ballots available to the troops
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there defending our country, that there ought to be a financial consequences on the states in terms of government programs that are legitimate. [applause] they ought to know ahead of time that we will work to make sure that if you are taking away the person who deserves the right to vote more than any of us, there is going to be a consequence. >> amen. >> speak aloud, because i am hard of hearing. >> when we go to the polls in november, to do our duty, what source of information can we go to that will allow us to keep your feet on to the fire? >> that is a great question.
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there is a lot of sources you can go to. you can go to you can find out every vote i cast, but that committee and on the floor. you can find every bill that i have offered or co-sponsored. you can go to my website and read every press release i have sent out. you can search the internet if you want to find out a whole bunch of stuff that is not true. [laughter] is a non-partisan and fact source or you can find out what is going on in the government. i think the way we make decisions about who we put in office ought to be on the basis of does it cost them something. when you think about our guys
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that are in afghanistan, it is costly. it may ultimately cost them the supreme sacrifice. i have decided in my life, i'll go for people were getting a pay cut. whether it is in my local community or my state representative or congressional representatives. if it is really worth doing, it is worth somebody giving up something to go serve. that is what service is about. it is about sacrifice. it is not about elevating the individual. that is what we ought to be -- that is the measuring stick and i use.
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the number one problem we have is not the quality of people that are coming, but the desire to be there forever. that tells me is about them, not us. therefore, term limits is a wonderful measuring stick with which to judge people in the political arena. self-imposed. offer them a piece of paper that says i pledge to you that i will term limit myself in my office. you are obviously not going to get term limits passed by the u.s. congress. it is not in their political interests. the real problem, and it is not fair to generalize this, both democrats and republican, both
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conservative and liberal, this is not a partisan statement. the fact is, too often the decisions made about what is best for the next election rather then the next generation. when we are making those decisions, we are hurting america. >> i read in the paper that you the king. t would not make a good nominee for president because of his divorces are there other examples of his non commitment? >> nhtsa gingrich -- newt gingrich is one of the smartest man i have ever met. he is not to i would foot putt as my commanding general. i think you can make judgments
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about people's character based on what their life says, not on what they say. hold me accountable based on what my actions have been, not what my words are. when i way to washington in 1995, the goal was to downsize the cost and affected the congress. the first thing we got into was expanding the committees so that you could hide from bill clinton rather dented to oversight for the country. the answer to him was political and not policy. i want a leader who wants the best for every american in the long term and is willing to sacrifice themselves and the criticism that comes with that by doing the best thing at every turn. not the thing to make a political party look better.
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somebody that will make the work -- the country work better for us all in the long term. [applause] >> [unintelligible] >> i think the second amendment is very safe. one is so infuriating the i can hardly stand it. if you have had head trauma or any kind at this -- in the service of our country and you come back to the states and you have not been capable of managing their own affairs, the veterans administration has the right, without due process, to take away your second amendment rights. you may not be able to manage your money, but you can -- we have a role.
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-- will. i've been trying to get that reversed. we will get that reversed. pepco [applause] all the bill of rights are offered. not just some of them. those that serve us, they are more it -- they're more important and trade they paid the blood, sweat, and tears. the second point is reciprocity when it comes to conceal carry. we have 57 votes on that this year. we will get 60 in the next senate. it is not about guns. it is about freedom. it is about liberty. [applause] i really work closely with a gun
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owners of america. i think they do wonderful job protecting the second amendment. i've never seen them one sell all the first amendment to take the second amendment. if you get my drift. >> i wanted to go back to [unintelligible] what the result some of the problems if the people in the businesses and the companies and people who hire them -- >> if we enforce the rules on the books today. that was starting to happen at the tail end of 2007 and 2008. how many of you all are related to an immigrant somewhere in your tree? [laughter] what is the genius of america?
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we are not racial. we are not ethnic. we are americans. nowhere else in the world is there anything like this. there is nothing wrong with everybody in the world who sees our opportunity wanting to come here. what is wrong is how we handle it. what we need to do is figure out what is the best legal immigration policy for us as well. part of that goal is that we have a social safety nets, in my opinion, -- we ought to do the oversight on that. we want to help people who need our help, but we did not want to create -- there is a great book. if you have three or four hours, you should get this book and read it. it is called "the tragedy of
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american compassion." it is the history of how we as america, how we help take care of those in need in our help. you know we got in trouble? is laemmle's started transferring all that to the government. -- is when we started transferring all that to the government. that is what we got abused. i am not proposing that we eliminate all the programs. but we certainly ought to fine- tune them to meet the needs of the people who have real needs. [applause] >> would you speculate on the effect of the tea party on congressional membership? >> speculation will be all it
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is. he is asking me to speculate on the impact of the tea party. i think it's healthy that more people are involved in our political process. i do not care what party they are with. the fact that more people are involved and knowledgeable and where, that is exactly what our country was built on. remember where reagan said. this is a paraphrase because i have read this " somewhere, that my staff cannot find the quote verbatim. reagan said, of freedom is a precious thing. it is not to hours by inheritance alone. it is never guaranteed. it must be fought for and defended by each and every generation. he was not talking to our military. he was talking to me and you. the very fact that we now have a lot of people interested enough
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to become informed. they are making an attempt to correct what they see that what is happening is wrong. i did not know what the long- term impact of that will be. we have weight -- we have raised the awareness. that is wonderful. we want to express the viewpoint and we want to hear it. that is the way we have to be participants in our freedom or lose it. you cannot sit back any longer. if you love your grandchildren, you will change what is going on. we have sold them how to -- sold them out in terms of their future.
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we have hobbled them with debts that they will find almost impossible to raise a family, all day home, and in education. that is why we are sending to them now. it does not have to be that way. we need to reverse it and we reverse it one step at a time. the reverse -- we reverse it by holding congress accountable to the oversight that they should have been doing all along. we need to raise the area of awareness of that you find out more information, of which killed more people participating. >> what about our tax cuts that are set to expire? what about this death tax going as high as 55% if your estate is valued at a million dollars? >> first of all, his question is
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about the tax cuts. and the estate tax. this is the first time in three weeks i've heard somebody say it correctly. our tax cuts. notice what the press has done. the press has labeled them the bush tax cuts. he did not get your tax cut, you got it. it is your tax cuts. the only reason they are expiring is because the majority of the party would not allow them to continue in the first place. that was the condition they put on them. i do not know for sure what will happen. most of the economic side steady at oklahoma state university and i do not care which philosophy eight came from, the worst time in the world to raise taxes is a new -- is in when we are in the midst of a soft recession. it is not make any sense that we would raise taxes. what is happening right now is there is not a clear signal from the leadership of this government that says, it is ok
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to spend. we will create a stable environment and you can make a measured risk assessment with which you can invest your money. that is our problem. if we were smart, we would have clarified that issue before we came home. we will have extended all those tax cuts until we have a time to reassess where we are economically. i cannot tell you what is going to happen on the estate tax. a lot of the oklahoma and million-dollar estates are guys that bought 160 acres back when it cost less than $400 an acre. now it is worth a whole lot more money and the family is going to pay. that was bought with after-tax money. not pretax money. they already paid taxes. it seems somewhat unfair.
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we have to change our whole tax system. the of all of these federal employees with the jobs -- we have all these federal employees with good jobs. there is not an irs officer that will give be the same answer on the same tax return. when they cannot figure it out and you cannot figure out, i think it is time for a change. >> i am looking at you in the blue. >> you gave a list of earmarks [unintelligible] is there anything that can be done to stop this? >> there is a lot that can be done. there is nothing wrong with an elected member of congress from oklahoma wanting to benefit oklahoma and the best way. there is something wrong when we
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want to benefit oklahoma at the expense of something that is a higher priority. there's something wrong with it. transparency is the disinfectant that will cure most of the problem with the earmarking. i have never earmarked. i am not ever going to earmark. the reason i don't is because i do not want to have a perceived conflict of interest that i am doing something -- a good portion of the earmarks are not competitively built. they are sweetheart deals. somebody is well-connected and getting a deal and you are paying for it. it is not wrong. if an earmarked went through a process where a committee of
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your peers said this is a priority for the nation and we agree, therefore, we authorize the earmarked as something that should be spent. what happens is most of the earmarks are not authorized. they are added to appropriation bills. nobody has ever seen them. the final thing that is wrong is if i have been earmarked in a bill and i had a sweetheart deal with you and that comes along and all the sudden, the bill is a stinker, what do i do? do i tell you, i'm sorry? do i vote for a bill that i would not have otherwise voted for? it becomes the currency of manipulation and drug addiction to spending. that is why i steer clear of it. i think we can solve its.
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i have in your march transparency bill that will try to block. i will eventually win that. we can get there and we can solve the problem. [applause] health stocks -- who else? >> i would like to thank you for the principles and i would like to thank you for your handling of the questioning of supreme court justice elena kagan. it was excellent. [applause] excuse me for beating a dead horse here, but i cannot leave the border issue. it seems like what was said is just partially resolved. i am content that may be
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something [unintelligible] i am still not satisfied with these people coming in over the border and the inability to stop it. >> they have the ability to stop its spread they choose not to. -- to stop its spread they choose not to. >> if you were king, what would you do to stop people from coming over the border illegally? >> i would markedly increase the border patrol. i would double fence it were fencing works. i would put a border patrol where we need it. i would change the entry/exit system. if somebody breaks are a lot in terms of senior longer, we know where they are. as soon as they do not report,
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they are automatically ejected. when you catch an illegal alien who is here illegally, of violating the law, you give them a limited time. for a hearing, but they stay under custody until then. we do not do any of that. if you go down and talk on the border, once they catch them, some did deported, but most don't. most get an arraignment date. guess what happens. where is the common sense? first principle, country cannot survive if they cannot control its borders. 20% of the people coming across the border are of non-hispanic origin. that to give you great concern. -- that should give you great concern. it is not hard to fix it. it is a mechanical to fix the border. it is more than mechanical to
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fix the movie's sad -- visa system. it has not been a priority of either of the last two presidents. i will imagine that it would be a priority if of whoever the next president is. >> are you doing anything to implement that? >> i have no power. all i had a vote in the senate. if you tell me, we will have the power to do something about that, i think you would see something done about that. look, it goes back. you have to fix the core problem. you do not have any control over the border. it does not matter what we do on the inside. it is putting water into your sink knowing it is draining the to the floor. you just keep putting more water in. the floor is going to get wider -- wetter.
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if you fix the drainpipe, the league goes away. it is intentionally close. >> is there anything that we can do as concerted individuals -- conservative individuals to help during election time? >>, any of you in this room know somebody outside of oklahoma? how the talk to them about your feelings about the country? have you put what is weighing on your hard on them? the only thing they can do is laugh at your get mad at you. neither of those are really painful. the fact is, everybody in this room has so much more influence than you think you have. among your neighbors, co- workers, employees, family, acquaintances and family outside
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of the state. the question is, have you done that job to bring the three- alarm fire to their attention? you can do that. you can work on other campaign somewhere. with the internet the way it is today, and telephones the way they are, you can be of tremendous help for someone who you believe it is running to fix the real problems that we have. we tend to say, we are frustrated. most districts think they are doing ok. what is the problem? the action in washington is different than the words at home. until you are informed about how we actually vote, and what we actually do, you cannot trust us. people who are not having town hall meetings, you should be
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worried about that. that is their obligation. to listen. i think you have a whole lot more power than you think you do. go use it. >> for me, we have spent most of our lives building our business. i know most of the people sitting here are doing that. you move yourself away from what is going on politically. you have to hold a lot of different parties accountable for where we're at. this is like the border problem.
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there are so many things that have never been rectified that all the sudden are a big terrible issue. the been an issue for quite some time. everyone to get rid of the ports and all these bills. -- pork in all these bills. i will give you this bill if you'll give me that bill. these people down here are going to pay for it. that is the problem. >> nobody ever said freedom was easy. >> we are looking to you guys to take care of things. i do appreciate your stand on the health care bill. you are a little guy trying to do the right thing.
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there are more [unintelligible] >> i hear your frustration. i had been beaten is up against the wall. you are about to get some help on what you would like to see in washington. in the wisdom of our founders, they designed a system so that when it really gets off kilter, more people will get involved. the are really off killed. fiscally, foreign-policy, culturally, we are way off tilt. this is not the america that i signed up for.
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it is something different. as you express that frustration, if i felt the way you did, i think our grandkids are worth the frustration and irritation that goes from having a free republic. what we have to do is -- remember what sam adams said. it does not take a majority to change. it takes a committed fewer to set the brush fires of freedom. we are about to get some things or we might start winning. if there is 41 fiscal conservative in the senate, nothing bad will happen to you financially.
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i will get for more to help me. for more fiscal conservatives. a lot of the struggle goal way. the very things that frustrates me because then they will have to work with us. they have to. i am willing to work with anybody. i do not care what party they are encouraged as long as we are both looking at what is the best thing we can do for america. i hear your frustration. i am there. i did not have hardly any watching -- gray hair when i went to washington. i have earned every one of them. i am sure i've caused might share of them to. -- my share of them, too. >> [unintelligible] >> i do not know if i can answer
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your question about what can be done. under our constitution, that is a protected right. i think a better question might be, if this is about reconciliation and coming together and creating, we will can predict it want to continue to do it. there is a legal question. but there is a more practical question. why would you continue to do this if there is this type of reaction? it is the mostsitive thing i can think about that somebody would do claims they want to reconcile. some of the fights my wife and i have had, if i use that line with her, i would get hit with a frying pan. it does not pass the smell test
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to me. legally, they can do it. if they are smart, and love our country, they will not. it is that simple. i tend to oversimplify the things. let me see how we are doing on time. we have time for one more question. >> [unintelligible] is there anything you can do when congress? >> that is a great question. it concerns me, too. it concerns me on two levels. we ignore our own responsibility to enforce the law and while we are not enforcing the law, we're going after somebody was trying to. that is a terrible signal. more important, what is the real glue that binds us together? what is the real clue?
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the real good buy in this together is that we all know your shot at justice is better here than anywhere else in the world. that is because the blind justice or attended blind justice and of the rule of law is evenly meted out. when we start picking what laws will enforced and what we will not at the federal government level, you are putting a solvent on that a clue that will conclude this country. -- uglue this country. if you think about the chrysler bondholders, we scuttled their rights under contract law. it is totally against the law. when you think about voting rights not being protected in philadelphia, u.s. auto law. when you are thinking about --
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your scuttling the law. do you know what happens? we start thinking we can do it, too. all the sudden, the very glue that binds us together as a nation, but equal shot, the thing that sets us apart from almost every other nation, is this consistent hard application of fairness and application of law. when our leaders are doing that, it sends a tremendous signal that makes me shake in my bones. that means they have barely missed what america is all about. they really missed it. you may have heard something here tonight that you absolutely disagree with. you owe me an e-mail if you do. that is how i hear from you. a lot of times, in a setting like this, somebody disagrees will not step -- sent -- stand-
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up. it may take me three months to get back to you. god bless you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> coming the next, a town hall meeting with vermont senator bernice sanders. after that, president obama talks about jobs, the economy, and the november elections. later, remarks from conservative
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activist ginni thomas. on tomorrow morning's "washington journal, a discussion on changes to the nation's health care system. after that, george melloan talks about the u.s. economy and consumer confidence bred and then, anthony placido on the dea. later, religious leaders from the christian, jewish, muslim faith will hold a news conference to talk about religious tolerance in the u.s.. they will discuss the country's reaction to the proposed islamic cultural center near ground zero. live coverage begins at 1:00. all the people and events that make history on line at the c- span the library. the transfer of the canal, the
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ante to of a president, the events of 9/11. watch what happens as it happens, all free anytime. is washington, your way. >> now we will hear from vermont senator maurice sanders. -- senator sanders. if this is an hour and 45 minutes. >> thank you very much. this is a great crowd. we appreciate all of you being here. i want to thank mike and the vfw for allowing us to use this beautiful facility. i want to thank theresa the prepared the wonderful dinner that we are having tonight. thank you very much. [applause]
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i want to thank the very fine cattle that we have up here as well. -- panel that we have up here. we do a lot of town meetings. a lot of you are interested in what is going on in washington. we want to hear your comments and your questions. there is a direct connection between what goes on in washington and what is going on here locally. we have local people come forward and talk a little bit about the issues that they are working on, the problems they are seeing, at their hopes for the future. we tried to tie back with what is going on in the country. we're going to hear very briefly from a number of local people. we will talk about some of the work they are doing. we're very pleased about the great panel. i want to begin by welcoming to the podium eight gentlemen many of you know.
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he is the speaker of the vermont house of representatives. [applause] >> thank you. it is a pleasure to welcome you to my home town. it is great to have everybody here today. i want to talk about the work that has been done in washington and what it has meant to us in the state legislature. if the -- as 2008 unfolds, we found ourselves in this state in profound financial difficulty. we had not experienced at any time in recent history, perhaps since the great depression, the pressures that we were feeling in our state revenue declined.
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hundreds of millions of dollars. at the same time, many of us were out of work, we're losing our health care, or feeling the pressure of whether we would have enough teachers and our schools. we were in a situation where have the recovery had not been passed, we would have been laying off hundreds and hundreds of people and we would have not been able to help people do their had jobs, their health care. over the last two years, the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been brought to into vermonts to help us with the state budget have been -- people have jobs and health care and the support they need and the schools that they need for the future.
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we will have a strong future. we have put over $130 million of extra federal dollars into our transportation infrastructure over the last two years. not only does that strength and our transportation infrastructure, but it puts you back to work. [applause] the other thing that i want to say is that it has also allowed us to put things into place the infrastructure for the future around broadband, technology, it has given us what we needed and i want to thank you for that. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you for the excellent work you are doing. the other representative here from memorial county has also done a great job. floyd? >> is anybody else a warm? thank you. it is a real " -- is a real honor to be here. back in my hometown, unemployment is now somewhere between 15% and 18%. in johnston, it is about 10% and 12%. without the help that we got from washington, it would have been 25%. people know that. people are aware of that.
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what of the things i want to talk about is that the tax payments are also going up. the tenor of the discussion in vermont -- i would much rather be a politician in vermont than be a politician were bernie has to be a politician. i still admire bernie for the way he has managed to ride the nasty politics down there. we can run a primary with five candidates to do not ever go at each other personally and anyway. in the end, they respect the decision of the voters. thank you for having me. [applause]
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>> there is a lot to talk about. we will certainly talk about health care this evening. i do want to mention that one of the very positive developments that is taking place right here in the last two years has been the establishment of the new committee help center -- the new community health center. [applause] will be talk about the health care, one of the issues we understand is the major concern is all over this country. it is not only that people do not have insurance, even people with insurance cannot be primary health care they need, get to a doctor, dentist, get affordable prescription drugs, mental health counseling. in the last seven years, we have been working very hard with communities all over the state's and what we have done it is gone from two federal
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requalify committee held centers to eight, including the one right here. in vermont, per-capita, more people get allies to do help centers than any other state in the nation. -- more people use community health centers. [applause] >> i have to agree. it is a little warm in here. i've been here for about three years and when i came on board, we had just received a federally qualified -- it was an application that was through the help services resource administration to ensure that we were financially stable to provide health care for this community. we see about 60% of the county. we see over 60,000 patients per year.
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if it was not for senator sanders, we would simply not exist. to give you an example, i employ about 100 employees within this county. we have about 113 -- are medical benefits one up 11% this year. as an employer, if you just the simple math, in about six years, we will be at about one under% of our premium. we are in the same boat as an employer. we have to be very diligent as to what we do and how we service health care. you know the positions in the community. it is more so if family help center. it is also a will and center. -- a wound center.
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we're starting around november 15 - [applause] we are building -- the dentist is already employed by us. we are getting the equipment assembled now as i speak. we will start construction september 13. that is the other filler when you are talking community help center. you're talking dental, and primary care. the focus of primary care should now be preventative medicine. it should not be the last step of medicine. we should really focus on helping u.s. patients come up providing health and wellness. that is what we are about. we welcome senator sanders here
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and everything that he has done for us. [applause] >> sometimes, it is very easy for us to choose not to see the pain that our neighbors are experiencing. as we assembled here, there are people not far from here who are wondering about how they will get food. there are wondering where they will be sleeping tomorrow night. there are people who are terribly worried about how they will be able to provide for their kids. we must never forget that reality. . .
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homeless with children, couch surfing, literally living in other people's homes on their couches trying to survive. a lot of it is, they can't find work. the unemployment benefits have run out and they don't know what to do. unfortunately with some of the programs that we have, to help people get into apartments, you have to be able to sustain the apartment before we can spend the money to get them in.
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if they don't have a job, they don't have money, we can't help them. we have to spend time trying to help them build a resume to find a job, to find housing. it's incredible. it's very mind boggling and like i said, that's only two months that i've been here. and you have people who come in with their heads hung very low because they are ashamed that they have to ask for help. so there's a lot out there, but we're vermonters and we need to help our own people. we need to get them housed, we need to get them fed, and we need to get them jobs. that is the most important thing right now. thank you.
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>> and not only do we have a moral responsibility to make sure that the least amongst us is provided for, but it's also important to remember that there are a lot of elderly people in our society, many of whom are living on fixed incomes, don't have a lot of money, and we have an obligation to make sure they're doing well. >> i'm a lot shorter than everybody else. so at meals on wheels, we provide home delivered meals. and people come to our program for a variety of reasons -- either they've been sick or just
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food due to mental or physical limitations or to income. and we are definitely seeing an increased need due to the economy and also the push for more community-based care. this year, we are working on having our third record year in a row for meals which is pretty unheard of. last fiscal year, we served 43,216 meals in lamoille county. and right now we are working on serving 2% to 3% more than that this year. it's definitely a great program to work for. we're having a lot more struggles as far as financing goes. the current demand, the level of funding isn't keeping pace with that demand, but we live in a wonderful community here and i just want to extend my gratitude to the lamoille county community for stepping up when we do our fundraisers and things like that and providing volunteers. you are will real reason why we are able to do what we do.
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a few things i want to talk about that individuals are in need of food from our program for many reasons, but income definitely plays a major role in this, especially in this economy. currently 46% of our home delivery clients make less than $902 a month, or less than $10,800 a year. so we can see where there would be struggles for them. also, many of our recipients are looking for assistance with items such as fuel and prescription drugs as well as food. we are having to make more and more referrals for people than ever before, and there are people that i've never had reports on that are struggling who we now have to help. i'll give you one example to make it a little more real for you. we had, last winter, one of our drivers went to deliver a meal and the person was outside cutting up old chairs and furniture that he could burn. he had run out of fuel at his house, had no means to get it.
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because we were there, we were able to make a referral to the united way program which has wood warmth program and they were able to get fuel. so i'm seeing more and more of these stories every. day. another thing in our program, we do not charge for our service. we have a suggested do nangs of -- donation of $3 per meal. it is strictly a donation and doesn't affect their ability to receive services. i've had numerous reports from drivers who told me that maybe i shouldn't get the meal, i used to be able to give a donation, i can't give the donation anymore but i really need the food. and this has never happened. i've been there for five years and i've never had anybody who used to be able to give not be able to give anymore. obviously, we call them right up and say, no, you can still get our food and we'll help you. so it's just showing the really hard times that people are having out there, that they're making these tough decisions between prescription drugs, food, fuel, and those types of things.
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and i also want to extend our gratitude to bernie sanders for helping to secure funds for us to purchase much-needed kitchen equipment. so that will go a long way for us. thank you very much. [applause] >> in the senate, i am on five different committees. that's a lot. and one of the committees that i very much wanted to be on is the veterans committee. and the reason for that is that i believe that for many, many years our country tragically did not keep faith with the promises it had made to its veterans. and we may disagree with this or that war, but there should be no disagreement that when a man or a woman puts his or her life on the line to defend our country that when they come home, they get all of the benefits to which they are entitled. [applause]
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and i'm going to talk about that later, but we're very proud to have with us this evening al brown. al is the statewide commander of the vermont v.f.w. and, al, thank you so much for being with us. why don't you come up and say a few words. [applause] >> i want to thank senator sanders for all he's done for the veterans, and he has done a lot. there's a new satellite clinic that just opened in newport that allows the veterans to go to the clinic rather than driving all the way to white river junction. there are several of those clinics scattered all over the state of vermont.
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his work for housing for homeless veterans, and, to tell you the truth, there's no difference between a homeless veteran and a homeless anybody. we need to help them all. veterans of foreign war is working to make sure we are remaining the g@vernment from time to time of the care that was promised to the veterans. particularly our young ones that are out there right now. when i retired from the military, i never thought i would say "the young ones." i just returned from our national convention that was in indianapolis. i met several young military people that had their combat patch on their right shoulder, and i'll swear that i have uniforms hanging in their closet -- in my closet that no longer fit that have more time in the
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military than they do. all of them were of high spirits. all of them were proud of the job they'd done, deservedly so. the government needs to take care of these people. the traumatic brain injury, which is the signature injury for this conflict that we're in, the government needs to and is studying it very carefully and keeping track of these people. we have female veterans out there. that's a little hard for a lot of the veterans of foreign wars to remember, because the only females that many of the older ones ran into were the nurses. that's not true today. 10% to 15% of the active army force is made up of females. they need care. they are showing up in larger number down in white river. i've seen them there. their issues are a little
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different from the men. and the v.a. is working toward that. in fact, white river is getting ready to open up a lady's clinic down there. [applause] i congratulate the senator for and the state of vermont for all the encouragement and support they've given to the brigade that's currently in afghanistan. >> as all of you know, a few months ago the congress passed healthcare reform. in my view, it is a step forward. it will provide health insurance for some 30 million more americans. we put billions of dollars into disease prevention so that we can begin to keep people healthy rather than spending a fortune treating them after they're very sick. and we've also doubled the number of community health
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centers throughout this country, among other things. but i will be very honest with you and tell you that there yet remains a lot more to be done. in my view, in my view and i feel this very strongly, we must look at healthcare as a right for every man, woman and child, and not a privilege. [cheers and applause] and whether you are young or whether you're old, whether you're rich or whether you are poor, our country must join the rest of the industrialized world and move forward to a cost-effective, high quality healthcare system. we have made some progress, we are not there yet. we have a number of folks in the state who are working at the grass-roots level, which is the
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only way that things ever get done, trying to work with our legislature so that they can go forward and have this small state lead the country into a medicare for all single payer healthcare system. and one of those people is marie cords. marie is a registered nurse at fletcher allen, the largest hospital in the state of vermont, and a member of the nurse's union there, and one of the leaders of the healthcare as human right campaign. marie, please come up. [applause] >> thank you, bernie. so glad to see all of you here, and don't worry, this is what three minutes looks like to a nurse educator. i've been a nurse for 25 years
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in vermont, and i started my nursing career at coffey hospital. i also had the good fortune to work as assistant director of nursing at the greensboro nursing home under the skilled and compassionate leadership of your own dave yacavoni. i will be stepping into the president role at the vermont federation of nurses and healthcare professionals and have been very fortunate to work with the vermont worker center for many years, not just on healthcare reform, but on many issues important to our community. and at the very beginning, i'd like to point out the worker center members that you can go to ask questions about how you can join in and work with us in this next push to make sure that our legislators have all that they need to complete the push for universal type medicare for
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all healthcare fundamental reform in the state of vermont so that we can lead the way for the country. so could the vermont worker center people wave your hands or stand up? [applause] there is information, and there will be petitions that you can sign so that at the end of the panel, please find those folks. healthcare workers like myself work every day with you and your family members in the most life-changing and vulnerable times of your lives. we know how devastating lack of access to healthcare is to many of you. we've cared for your loved ones when they died from infections that would have been easy to treat if they hadn't avoided seeking care for lack of money. we've supported our own colleagues as they struggle to care for their children with new diagnoses like leukemia, parents unable to take time away from
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their job because they might lose their employer-based health insurance, when they really need to devote all of their time and resources to their child. we've strategized strategized wh colleagues to help patients figure out how to care for themselves and their new medical devices safely at home when insurance companies won't pay for all of the necessary supplies. so what we have learned through this struggle as healthcare professionals was that what was presumed to be unobtainable is most certainly attainable when we have a strong vision and organized effort, by working together. since we organized our local healthcare union in 2002, the vermont federation of nurses and health professionals, we began working with a hospital to create positive change, supported all the along the way by the vermont workers center, bernie sanders, and our communities.
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nurse-patient ratios have improved dramatically. patient safety has improved. when we had a high nurse vacancy rate that had to be filled by traveling nurses, we were not only able to add hundreds of new positions, but now have one of the lowest nursing vacancy rates in the country. and we've accomplished much more. we succeed because we are organized. all of us in this room, all of us in vermont, can accomplish the vision of universal access to quality healthcare for all vermonters using the principles of healthcare as a human right instead of healthcare for profit. [applause] so what we need to do now is to get organized in every county and in every community. this year, we have another big uphill battle to make sure our state legislature follows through with their commitment to
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make healthcare a human right. we need to be organized in every district in the state. so, at the end of this meeting, please do find those petitions, take some, sign them, take some, spread them around, give them to 10 people and have them give them to 10 people. we're going to collect all of these petitions and present them to the legislators at the beginning of the session in january. and let me tell you, all of the work that we've done across the state of vermont has made a huge difference. i've heard, we've all heard who worked on this campaign, over and over again, that it's because of the grass-roots work that we were able to get this bill passed this year. so if you haven't already, sign the petition and be part of making history in vermont and the country. thank you. [applause] >> what i'd like to do now is,
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i'm going to chat for a little bit and talk about where we are as a nation, where we've come from, and how we've gotten to the place we are now, talk about where i think we should be going as a nation and some of the work that i've been doing and then when i stop, i'd like to hear your questions and your comments. and we have microphones that will be circulating around the room. i want you to go back about 18 months and think about where we were as a nation in december 2008. and if you think about it, what you will remember is that at that particular moment in american history, we were losing about 700,000 jobs a month -- 700,000 jobs, which is just an unbelievable number, an unprecedented, by far, in the
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recent history of this country. perhaps even more frightening, because of the greed, the recklessness and the illegal behavior of people on wall street, the financial system was tottering on the edge of collapse, and there were economists who believed that it was quite possible that the american financial system could collapse, and with it, bring down the world's financial system and plunge us into perhaps the worst depression in modern world history. and some of you remember that in in the 1930s in this country we had 25% unemployment, and there were some who were thinking that the situation might get even worse than that. today, 18 months later, i am not here to tell you by any stretch of the imagination that things are going well. they are not. the economy is in very, very difficult straits and certainly
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our financial system is not where it should be. but we can all agree is that at least there is an element of stability. instead of losing hundreds of hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, we are gaining some, nowhere near enough. we are making some progress, but much, much more needs to be done and that's what i want to talk about. if you ask me from an economic point of view what congress has got to do, the answer is simply this: we have got to create millions and millions of good paying jobs and we've got do it as soon as we possibly can. [applause] and let me tell you how i think we can do it and let me tell you how i think we can pay for that. if you drive around the state of
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vermont, you'll notice two things. number one, we have a great deal of infrastructure. needs what do i mean by infrastructure? infrastructure is roads, is bridges, is waste water plants, is water systems, is culverts, is public transportations, it is the railroad beds on which our trains run. in bigger cities, it is subway systems, it is airports, et cetera, et cetera. according to the american society of civil engineers, this country needs, in the next five years, to invest $2.2 trillion to rebuild our infrastructure -- $2.2 trillion. in my view, what we have got to do right now if we're going to be competitive internationally, is we have got to rebuild the infrastructure and when we do
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that, we're going to be putting millions of people back to work. [applause] now, shad smith mentioned a moment ago, and he's absolutely right, when you drive around vermont now, sometimes you get a little bit angry because some guy is holding up a stop sign because they're doing road construction. you know what? that's a good thing. we're beginning to rebuild the road system in the state which has long been neglected. where right now, in this period, as a result of the stimulus package alone, we're going to rebuild 20 bridges in the state of vermont. we are making a good start. we're putting more money into our roads and bridges than at any time in the history of the state of vermont. we're putting people to work doing that. yesterday, i was up at the caledonia fair talking to a guy. works for a moderate-sized construction company. what he said is, as a result of the stimulus package, 70% of their work comes from that. they've gone from 31 jobs to 38
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jobs. i said, what would have happened if there was no stimulus package? there would have been massive layoffs in that company. true all over the state. so we're making progress, but we've got a long, long way to go. bridges, you all know about the 1927 flood, wiped out a lot of bridges in the state. some of them haven't been rebuilt sense. vermont department of transportation will tell you that many of them are in bad shape. let's rebuild them. in terms of water systems, we have water systems in the state which aren't working well. some of them go back almost to the civil war period. let's invest in our water systems. here's a good piece of news for you. last week, i was on the phone with a guy from the department of vermont -- not vermont -- national rail association. vermont got $50 million, a heck of a lot of money for this state to start rebuilding our rail beds so that we could have trains going more than 15 miles per hour.
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[applause] all over the world they got hung up in some bureaucracy, and i think we resolved it, and i think next week that $50 million will be freed up and we're going to have people working to rebuild our rail system so we have trains that can go at a decent speed. but that's just the start. if you go to europe, if you go to japan, if you even go to china what you're seeing is high-speed rail, so we have to invest in rail, we have to improve our airports, we have to do all those things. let's do it now, create jobs. then there's another area. some of you may know that as a nation we are spending $350 billion every single year importing oil from saudi arabia and other foreign countries. i was in saudi arabia about 10 years ago. trust me, the royal family there is doing just fine. don't worry about them. they are about the wealthiest family in the world. they don't need any more money. and i think it is high time we
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stop investing in saudi arabia and started investing in energy in the united states of america. [applause] now, what should we be doing? what are we doing? the good news is, again, we are making some progress, but not enough. all of you should be very proud, very proud, that the state of vermont is leading the united states of america in terms of energy efficiency. we have done a good job. much more needs to be done. right now, because of the stimulus package, thousands of homes in the state which waste all kinds of energy -- i remember talking to two senior citizens. they were citizens, they live in barry. and they were living in a home that was really old. they would heat their home and the heat would go right through the ceiling, through the window, through the roof. as a result of weatherization, they are saving 40% on their
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fuel bill. they are using less fuel, helping us move to energy independence, and they're helping us reverse greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. that is precisely what we have to do. we are investing money in it. we have to invest a whole lot more. and then there is the issue of sustainable energy. this nation can make huge progress with the technology available today, not to mention tomorrow. right now, in terms of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass. we -- i can give you just one fact i want you to remember or think about, according to the secretary of energy, ken salazar, if we simply utilize solar thermal, that's a utility scale solar technology, in the southwest of this country -- nevada, arizona, new mexico, california, southern california -- just doing that through solar energy, we could provide 29% of the electricity that american households consume. can you imagine that?
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that's just one technology in the southwest of this country. what you're seeing in vermont now you're beginning to see more solar. drive around the state. we were able to bring in many millions of dollars into the state for schools, for buildings. we were going to move to solar. you're going to see more wind, geothermal, biomass. we have 45 schools in the state heating with biomass. we are making some progress. much more has to be done. and when we do that, number one, we create good paying jobs. two, we cut greenhouse gas emissions and number three, we don't have to support the king of saudi arabia and get ourselves involved in wars which we otherwise should not be involved in. [applause] now, when we talk about creating jobs, in infrastructure, jobs and energy, there are other ways we've got to create jobs. and here's an issue that needs
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serious debate -- we need a grass-roots movement to make it happen. when you go shopping christmas time or any time and you buy a product, where, in most instances is that product manufactured? that's right. that is exactly right. and you don't have to be ph.d. in economics to understand that we are never going to have a strong economy when the vast majority of the products that we buy -- and i'm not just talking about sneakers and pants and shirts. i'm talking about high-tech stuff, increasingly is made in other countries. what we have got to see as a nation is that just within the bush years and it's been going on before the bush years, we lost 24% of our manufacturing jobs, just in that eight-year period. what has happened over the longer period of time going back to reagan and going through clinton and going through bush and right now, is you have large corporations who are making this -- thinking about this equation. they're saying to themselves,
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why do i want to invest in the state of vermont, why do i want to invest in america, pay people $15, $20 an hour, give them health insurance, protect the environment, have to deal with environmental regulations, why do i have to do that? i should throw american workers out on the street, move to china, pay them 50 cents an hour, bring the products back into america. the reason they can do that is because, over a period of years, we have passed, i have to say against my very strong opposition, disastrous trade policies. you know what nafta is? you know what permanent normal trade relations with china is? these are trade policies that were pushed by corporate america so they could go abroad, hire people for pennies an hour, produce products, bring it here. one example, when you go to a store and you're looking at shirts, for example, you may notice that some of them were manufactured in bangladesh. those shirts are made, by and large, by young women who lived in rural bangladesh, then moving
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into the cities to work in factories. the good news is that the minimum wage in bangladesh has recently doubled. the bad news is, is that it went from 11 cents an hour to 21 cents an hour. now, should american workers be asked to compete against desperate people who are forced to work for 21 cents an hour? i don't think so. so we need a trade policy which says to corporate america, that if you want us to purchase your products, then it's damn well time to produce those products here in the united states of america. [applause] now, if you look at where job creation rests in this country, it is not with the big corporations. they have downsized and downsized and downsized. it rests with small businesses. and one of the very serious problems that small businesses are having right now, is that
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they're unable to get affordable loans. very serious problem i talk to small business people in vermont, this is true all over the country. they can't get the loans they need in order to expand and hire new workers. we are working right now on legislation which i hope will pass when i get back to washington which will provide $30 billion to community banks for small businesses. but we have to be supportive of small businesses and make sure they get the capital that they need. some will say, all of those ideas are great, bernie, but we have a $13 trillion debt, we have a $1.4 trillion deficit. how are you going to pay for all of those things? and that's a good question, because we have a very serious deficit situation. before i tell you how i think we can pay for it, i want you to also think about how we got into this deficit situation in the first place. number one, under bush, we went to war in two countries but we forgot to pay for it.
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the war in iraq, by the time we take care of the last veteran, 60, 70, 80 years from now, will probably cost $3 trillion alone. in addition to that, in the last eight years of the bush administration, we thought it was a very good idea to give huge tax breaks to some of the wealthiest people in this country. let me give you just a couple of examples. right now the estimate is that we lose about $100 billion a year -- that is serious money, even in washington -- $100 billion a year by wealthy individuals and corporations who moved toward tax havens in the cayman islands and bermuda. there is a picture we have in the budget committee on which i serve. it is a four-story building in the cayman islands. it's a normal-sized building. you have them right here in morrisville. that building houses 18,000 corporations.
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now, how does it house 18,000 corporations? because all it is is a postal address for all of these companies. it's a scam. they are using that to avoid paying taxes in america. you have large corporations who get all kinds of government loans like halliburton, they've moved away from the united states of america. and i'll be damned why we are giving government contracts to corporations that don't even want to be in the united states of america. so i think there's a lot to be done by saying to the very wealthiest people at a time when the income gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, that they have got to -- we have got to do away with all of those tax breaks and ask that they pay their fair share of taxes. [applause] and on that note, let me just give you one example which will no doubt cheer you up.
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exxonmobil is the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, and we pay $3 or $4 a gallon of gas a few years ago, those guys were doing just fine. last year, in truth, exxonmobil had a bad year. it's a recession, they made less year than they usually did. shocked to know that they only made $19 billion in profits. it was a bad year, but, hey, tough times. you heard about the tough times here. they only made $19 billion, but, for exxon mobil, there was some good news. on $19 billion in profits, guess how much money they paid in taxes? it wasn't zero, no, no, no. it was worse than zero, they got $156 million refund from the i.r.s. so, here's where we are. this is what is going to happen when i get back to washington. this is what the debate is going
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to be about and i hope you'll get actively involved in this debate. there are some of us who say our economy is in crisis and we have got to create jobs that are desperately needed, and at the same time we also recognize there is a serious deficit problem and a national debt problem that must be addressed. and some of us believe that we can do both, that it's not either/or, we did do both. on the other hand, there are people who will come forward and this is what the debate will be about and they'll say, you know, you know, we got a $13 trillion debt and i'm sorry to hear your stories about senior citizens and lower-income people and i'm sorry to hear about veterans, but we have a huge debt, we can't do it anymore. i'm sorry, too bad if you need
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help from injuries in iraq or afghanistan, we don't have enough money. and even more, because of the deficit, we're going to have to cut social security or maybe privatize social security, that's what we have do because we have a national debt of such consequence. i don't believe it for a second. not for a second. [applause] at a time when corporate america continues to make huge profits, when wall street is giving their ceos huge bonuses, at a time when the top 1% in america earn more income than the bottom 50% and the top owns more wealth than the bottom 90%, it will not be veterans or working people or the poor that have to pay the price. let those guys start paying their fair share for a change. [cheers and applause]
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so you're going to hear a lot about social security. on television tonight, you'll hear the following -- social security is going bankrupt, and all you young people, oh, you don't expect -- don't have illusions that social security will be there for you. maybe you want to privatize or at the very least we have to raise the retirement age to 70. over four republicans that believe that and a number of democrats that believe it, as well. let me tell you the truth about social security. social security is not going bankrupt. according to the congressional budget office, the people who study this most thoroughly, according to the social security administration itself, social security can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible american until the year 2039.
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got it? for the next 29 years, every american who's entitled to social security, not just the elderly, but the disabled, but widows and orphans, all of those people can get 100% of their benefits for the next 29 years. social security today has a $2.5 trillion surplus in its trust fund which is expected to go up to $4 trillion within a few years. so we don't need to cut back on social security. now, what happens in 2039 if we don't do anything or we've got to act, social security at that point, 29 years from now, will be able to pay out only 80% of the benefits that people are receiving. what's the answer to that problem in 29 years, not tomorrow? the answer is that right now if somebody is a millionaire and
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somebody makes $106,000, both of those people pay the same amount of money into the social security trust fund because there's a ceiling at $106,000. if you simply lift the ceiling to $250,000, you solve the problem for the next 60 or 70 years and that is exactly what we should be doing. and the hatred that we see in politics around social security, you know what it's based on? it's based on the fact that social security is doing exactly what it was supposed to do. it's working. but there are some people who, from an ideological point of view, from an ideological point of view, really hate government. they don't want government to do anything. they don't believe, some of these people, when you hear, we want to go back to the
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constitution, all that stuff, you know what they're really talking about? they're talking about abolishing medicare, medicaid, veterans administration, social security. government should not play a role in those areas. well, i respectfully disagree with them. social security has worked for 75 years and with modest changes it's going to work for another 75 years. you know, what really gets me -- i want you all to stay on social security for a moment. we've gone through some really bad times in recent years. two years ago, you know, almost on the verge of a financial collapse. in the midst of all of that, how many americans who were on social security did not get every penny that they were entitled to? people lost a fortune in the stock markets, their iras went down, all over the place, people were hurting. every person on social security got every nickel he or she was entitled to. we have a good program. administrative costs are 1%.
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we are going to stand up and not let them cut social security. [applause] all right, we covered a lot of territory. i know there are a lot of issues that are on your mind. i touched to some. there are other issues i didn't get to. so we have a couple of microphones. phil, you have one, harper, you have one. grab a couple of mics here. kelly, are you roaming around? okay. and by the way, that gentleman over there with the funny looking thing is with c-span, you're on national television, i forgot to tell you. so behave very well. we'd like people just to -- if people want to ask a question or make a comment, just give us your name and try to be as brief as you can. yeah?
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>> i want to comment on the economy. i've worked for many years as a waitress in a nearby town. and most people know we get less hourly rate, less hourly wages than minimum wage. it's a little over half. income is hugely tip dependent. i have been able to make a satisfactory living for a number of years. the thing is, with the income being derived from tips, i have to report my tips to the employer which goes, then, to the i.r.s. so i am, in fact, being taxed on my -- i'm being fairly taxed on my income. this is not a free-loader kind of thing. being that i work in a resort town, with the economy, i can say that last year our business was definitely down.
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seeing less customers, spending less money, tipping less money. i can tell you that this last year the effect has been even more dramatic. if i look at my records for five years, i'm making maybe 2/3 the income in the same job, in the same town. people are not going out, they're not spending. it seems to be a result of things that happened in years past and i don't see any light at the end of the tunel except that with the changes in the policies that the u.s. government is enacting right now >> thank you very much. >> thank you for your time. >> mention this, in terms of seeing light at the end of the tunnel. we have a long, long way to go. i don't want to overstate it, but the economy remains in very serious trouble.
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nationally, we created over 2.5 million jobs. in the state of vermont, we created about 7,000 jobs. there will be 7,000 folks who would not be working who are now working. some of those people may have gone to your restaurant and will have a meal. we're making some progress but have a long way to go. yes? >> there we go. republican john mitchell was quoted recently about what should be done about climate change. his response was, it should be ignored, flat-out ignored. how do we convince -- how do we convince these people that climate change is real and it's our greatest challenge of the human race? >> thank you.
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with regard to the issue of climate change -- and i'm on both the environmental and energy committee so i get involved in these things a little bit. on one hand, you have virtually every major scientific organization in america and in the world that believes that, a, global warming is real, and, b, in almost all likelihood it is created by human beings through carbon emissions. so on one side -- and then on top of that you have the cia and the defense department recognizing the reality of global warming and the cia will tell you that is perhaps the number one national security issue they have because when drought hits a country and people don't have water and can't grow food, it creates instability in the region which leads to war. you have the cia, the department of defense, department of agriculture, the epipa, virtually every government
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agency and scientists think global warm suggest real. and on the other side you have, glenn beck and rus limbaugh who disagree. you have the entire scientific community here and rus limbaugh here, it's a tough one. i come down with the scientific community. here's the point. i think that we have the potential right now, if we move aggressively, if we play a leader internationally -- united states is not going to deal with this problem alone. china is going to have to get involved, india is going to have to get involved, europe is going to have to get involved. but here is what we can do. if we transform our energy system, if we are leaders in the world in helping people move to energy efficiency, sustainable energy, we create jobs in the united states, we can show the rest of the world how to move in that direction.
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what scares me very much is you look at something like phonable task panels. you know who is now producing more phonable tasks from a concept originated in the united states of america? we came up with the idea. it's china right now. we're going to lose the entire industry of wind and solar if we do not move aggressively of the so i believe that we have the potential to be a leader in the world in cutting greenhouse gas emissions here, helping the rest of the world do that and making this planet a lot safer environmentally than it would otherwise be. that's what we've got to do. [applause] >> when main street americans, vermonters, go to the stores to get clothes or shoes or cars for
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themselves or their kids. >> is the mic on? >> okay. when you go to the store and main street vermonters or americans go to the store to get clothes or shoes or cars, you pay 6% to 8% sales tax. what about a 1% sales tax for security transfers on wall street. it could raise $10 trillion. >> what phil is talking about is an idea that has been around for a number of years and it makes a lot of sense to me for a couple of reasons. he's talking about a transaction fee on wall street. huge amounts of stocks are bought and sold every single day and some of them end up -- they're not little old ladies buying stocks, but people are speculating all over the place. and it you have a tiny, quarter of one percent, transaction fee. you raise an enormous amount of money in a progressive way and exempt the small stockholders who invest in the stock market,
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but in addition to that, you would probably dampen speculation so it is a good idea we are very supportive of. [applause] >> my name is hal cohen, director of the local community action agency. before the recession, we served around 12,000 people, and since the recession, in this last year, we serve over 16,000 people. before the recession, we served about 150,000 meals. this year, we're going to serve about 250,000 meals. our housing, people who are accessing different kinds of housing counseling and who are homeless, we've seen a 40-fold increase. as a result of the stimulus funds, we were able to really meet most of those needs over the last year and a half. we were able to hire 20 additional staff.
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unfortunately, the end of september, a number of those grants are over and yet the situation is, if anything, still continuing and in ways getting worse and we're not going to be able to serve those people losing those dollars. >> that is what the debate is going to be about. do we create jobs by making sure that the most vulnerable people in our society have at least a minimal standard of living, do we create jobs through action on weatherization. how many of you are working on weatherization right now? >> 30. >> 30 people. you're doing more weatherization now than you ever did before, is that right? >> right. >> that's how we create jobs. if i have anything to say about it, we are going to continue funding those programs. >> i want to thank the v.f.w.
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i'm an army brat and went to college on a v.f.w. scholarship. thank you for letting us having this discussion at your facility. thank you. i work with the healthcare is a human right campaign and it's an exciting time because of the debate in the nation but it's frightening because there's so much opposition and as we debate, a lot of people are suffering and dying. my question is, as we vermonters, we, the nation, which i believe we will, as we do this, we will be the focus of a lot of attention and that anger you were talking about with social security is going to be here about healthcare and there's going to be a lot of money behind that anger. and how do we stand against that as citizens? >> that is an excellent perception. what is your name? >> ellen. >> the most significant dynamic
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that we have to understand about how politics takes place in washington is the unbelievable power -- much greater than you can ever understand because you're not there -- the power of big money over the political process. it is a bad situation today and it is getting worse and worse. give somehow examples. the reason that we are in the midst of the economic crisis we're in right now in my view is the deregulation of wall street. you all remember that debate way back? here's what alan greenspan and all the wall street guys said, they said, if you deregulate, if you allow commercial banks to merge with investment banks, to merge with big insurance companies, we're going to have all of this capital and we're going to be creating all of this wealth and all of that will be good for the united states of america. so when i was in the house, on the house financial services committee, and i never, ever believed one word of that
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nonsense that helped lead the opposition to deregulation. during a 10-year period, wall street spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying in order to get deregulation. last year alone, if you can believe it, after wall street caused the horrendous recession we're in now, millions of people losing their jobs, last year alone wall street spent $300 million on lobbying and campaign contributions to make sure that congress kind of left them alone so they can continue to do their wonderful, honest work. okay? so when you talk about -- ellen, when you talk about what goes on in washington, you got to understand, we are taking on people who have more money than
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you can imagine. hundreds of millions of dollars is nothing. and then what happened, as bad as that whole situation is, as some of you may have noticed that a number of months ago the supreme court in its "wisdom," by a 5-4 decision, passed a decision regarding citizens united. any of you follow that issue? what that issue is about, here's what the issue is about, making a bad situation worse. the supreme court of the united states, by one vote, decided that corporations were people and because corporations are people they are entitled to the same first amendment constitutional rights that you are. so you are entitled to participate in the political process. you, as individuals, are entitled to make campaign contributions. so is goldman sachs, so is the bank of america. they're just little old people like you and me. what is now happening, and then
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what they can do and are doing today, they can set up phony groups like, you know, citizens for a better vermont, they can form millions and millions of dollar that they pay for on tv ads and we don't even have to know, we will never know who is paying for it. some phony group funded by big-money interests. right now, you have millionaires and billionaires in large corporations that will pour hundreds of hundreds of millions of dollars into this campaign and nobody knows who they are. so to answer your question, in my view, if we are serious about having a cost-effective, high-quality healthcare system which guarantees healthcare to every man, woman and child, the way to go is a medicare-for-all-single-pair system. if vermont leads the country, you are absolutely right that, we will be dlujed with lobbyists
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and big money interests, because why? because it's the small state of vermont, all of 630,000 people, if we can show that a medicare-for-all-single-payer system works, then new york is not far behind and then california, the rest of the country comes. that is why what we are doing here is so important. you are absolutely right. what do we do? we're doing it. the answer goes to big money. the only way i know you effectively fight back is by educating, by organizing. at the end of the day when you knock on doors, talk to people, explain the issues, when we make it clear that they understand who our ponents are, there are people out there who are making billions and billions of dollars off of human misery. you mentioned earlier, somebody mentioned, in this country, last year, do you know how many americans died because they didn't get to a doctor on time? 45,000 people died. god knows how many others became much more ill than they should have because they didn't go to
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the doctor. what we have now is a system designed to make profits for the insurance companies. there is a reason why we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and that is because these guys are making huge sums of money. they don't want a non-profit system. will they fight us? they sure will. you have to give real support to the elected officials of the legislature and hopefully your new governor who has the guts to stand up to these people. [applause] and last point they want to make on healthcare, last point i want to make on healthcare and we'll go to any subject people want. do you know what medicare is? it is called a single-payer healthcare system for senior citizens. do you know what, in our state, it's called the doctor dinosaur program. you know what that is?
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it is a single payer program for children. do you know what the veterans -- i had an interesting dialogue with john mccain. he's on the health committee that i'm on and we're talking about veterans healthcare and he was saying positive things. i said, john, you are aware that the veterans administration is a socialized healthcare system that does a very good job for our veterans. 100% government run, right? well, well, he hates the government. point being, that's what you got. you got the va, dr. dinosaur and medicare, they're working pretty well. the fact is, when you're not a veteran, over 18 and under 65, you got a whole lot of problems. that's the problem we have to resolve. okay. [applause] >> two years ago, i worked for the lamoille community jus


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